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Sounding Ground by
Publication Date: 2014-07-01
Winner of: 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Vladimir Lucien is a young poet with so many gifts; his poetry is intelligent, musical, gritty in observation, graceful in method. His poems contain stories of ancestors, immediate family, the history embedded in his language choices as a St Lucian writer, and heroes such as Walter Rodney, C. L. R. James, Kamau Brathwaite, and a local steelbandsman. Although never overtly political, there's an oblique and often witty politics embedded in the poems, as where observing the rise of a grandfather out of rural poverty into the style of colonial respectability, he writes of the man "who eat his farine and fish / and avocado in a civilize fight between / knife and fork and etiquette on his plate." This is a collection that is alive with its conscious tensions both in subject matter and form. There's a tension between the vision of ancestors, family, and of the poet himself as being engaged in the business of acting in the world and building on the past, and a sharp awareness of the inescapability of age's frailty, the decay of memory and of death.
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